Concern about civility in our community! 

I have lived in this beautiful town for close to 25 years and absolutely love its tranquility along with the offer of vast array of services that makes this town very much ahead of the curve in terms of liveability.  Having worked in municipal administration all of my life, I therefore have the unique view of having worked within the system as well to observe from the outside.

I can state with confidence that the current group of elected officials, led by Mayor Richard Burcombe, are there for the betterment of the town without a personal agenda. In addition, with knowledge of the current town administration, led by Director General, Gilbert Arel, the senior leadership is way ahead of neighbouring municipalities with its ability to manage the town’s day to day operation. 

The current administration has set out to establish a new 5-year plan, following the successful implementation of the 2015 plan. Not surprisingly, consultation undertaken by the firm of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton (RCGT), the response rate of our community of over 1,000 fellow citizens was well above the norm, which augurs well for the council to make important decisions.  Having attended the results meeting at our community center presented by RCGT, which attracted about 60 fellow citizens, I was surprised to hear a pervading view from a number of people that RCGT did not capture the real views of the citizens. In addition, some in attendance were unhappy because their personal point of view was not captured. Some even stated that the springtime in-person meeting should have been much more prominent in the report suggesting that those who responded in writing should have been given less weight in the conclusions reached. In fact, I suggest that some of the comments pointed directly at RCGT were disrespectful of the process, even questioning the methodology used. 

This pervasive feeling concerns me. This goes along with a group of residents who have decided and often regularly express that anything that this current council undertakes is not good for our community. This gives rise to populism, a term that we equate much more often with the federal and provincial political land- scape. The populist view is where some citizens make so much noise whereby, they increasingly distrust the leadership and feel great insecurity concerning the future, often expressing a personal agenda that should be implemented without regard to consequences that follow. 

It is OK for citizens to disagree with conclusions reached by the survey of our community, but it must be done with understanding that there are other points of view that are acceptable. However, it is not OK to state that the majority of opinion be discounted in the survey and found to be wrong by a select few who appear to express themselves eloquently and state that they are the voice of the community. I, for one, hope and believe that the majority of our citizens will not fall into the trap of populist politics in our small community. We need be civil with each other, with our elect- ed officials and show proper respect to permit our current administration to complete the job that we elected them to undertake. 

Respectfully submitted, David Taveroff (Resident of Foster)